59 'Dharas' burnt in Shimla town
Shimla, Apr 1 (UNI) Fifty nine 'dharas' (huts or khokas)) were reduced to ashes in a devastating fire in Downdale area of Shimla town in Himachal Pradesh today while the workers of the district administration were demolishing illegal structures on Welfare Department land, official sources said.
Migrant labourers had encroached upon the land, which was meant for constructing a leprosy colony.
The sources said when the workers along with police reached the spot in the morning some people evacuated the structures peacefully while a few others created a ruckus.
Eyewitnesses and police personnel said the encroachers were given time to evacuate the place.
However, some of the miscreants, who were allegedly drunk, set a 'dhara' on fire and others caught fire thereof. As a result of this, the workers demolished around 20 'dharas' whereas the rest were gutted.
Most of the 'dharas,' being made of wood and covered with tarpaulin, took no time to catch fire and people were unable to remove their belongings.
Shimla SDM (Urban), ADM, and other senior officials, present on the scene, left the spot after the situation turned tense, while extra police force was requisitioned to control the situation.
Fire tenders were also pressed into service, besides ARTRAC personnel to control the situation.
Police said it had booked three people in the connection adding two other injured persons in the fire have been referred to the IGMC here.
Shimla Deputy Commissioner SKBS Negi said no compensation would be paid to the affected people since they had encroached upon the land.
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